We visited Seattle over Thanksgiving week, and it is a fabulous city with great things to do and great places to eat. For now I’m going to share some of the things we enjoyed doing while in the area, and I will follow up with a post detailing where the places we loved to eat while we were there.
This was my first trip to Seattle, and my point of reference was Vancouver, BC which I have visited a number of times. There were definite similarities, the weather and the overall vibe, but subtle differences, the ever-present coffee house and just those small quirks that differ between the U.S. and Canada. I would definitely recommend putting Seattle on your travel list, as even in November the weather was manageable, and you will have no trouble filling a week of fun and adventure.
In no particular order, here are my recommendations of things to do:
Pike Place Market
Probably one of the first things that come to mind in terms of a spot to visit when you go to Seattle, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. I didn’t realize how spread out the market was, but you absolutely want to take the time to explore all of the various nooks and crannies. You of course want to watch the fishmongers singing, dancing and tossing fish around, but there are also foods of every kind imaginable, funky shops covering just about any category, and a ton of market stalls where you can find food, jewelry, artwork, etc… Be prepared to get hungry, even if you have just finished a meal, and it will most likely be a place that you visit more than once during your trip.
Climate Pledge Arena
I wrote a post some time ago all about this carbon neutral facility and all of the innovation that went into its creation. That post really doesn’t do the building justice, and you should definitely find a reason to take in an event there. My recommendation is to take in a Seattle Kraken game, as the city has wholeheartedly embraced hockey and the atmosphere during a game is electric. Whatever you choose to see, go as early as you can so that you can wander through the arena and have time to see the green walls, grab and go tech used for concessions, and more glass than you would have thought possible in an arena.
Park around the Space Needle
The Space Needle wasn’t on my list of things to do, but to be fair I lived fairly close to the CN Tower in Toronto for over 8 years. However, the “park” that surrounds the Space Needle is a great place to spend an hour or two wandering around. That area has the Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture, Climate Pledge Arena, and a whole lot of interesting things to take in. Grab some food from the many vendors at the Armory, enjoy the International Fountain, or stop by the Kraken team store, whatever you end up doing will be a fun afternoon.
Museum of Pop Culture
Something for everyone in this great interactive museum. I could have spent the whole time just in the Nirvana room, but there was so much to see. Distinct areas for Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, plus a ton of music coverage. If you are a grunge fan, then you will be in heaven, but there was also an amazing exhibit of Hip-Hop. A nice mix of exhibits to walk through, but also opportunities to take a seat and watch video clips that help bring the material to life. Add in a kick-ass gift shop, and a great Hall of Fame and it was a fantastic way to spend a few hours on a rainy afternoon. The bonus was they had a special presentation from Disney on costuming, which happens to be the field that my daughter is looking to study in college.
We continued our tradition of visiting aquariums or zoos on Thanksgiving day, and the Seattle Aquarium didn’t disappoint. While not the largest aquarium I have visited, it had a great layout and a strong amount of exhibits and educational pieces. It definitely leans into the teaching about the local ecosystems, which was a great learning experience, and has some absolutely fabulous animals on display. If you love fish and coral you will be in heaven, but they also have otters and seals to keep just about anyone entertained. They also have a small section of birds, and is it just me or are Puffins just penguins with deep emotional problems. Everytime I have seen puffins, they have been acting completely nuts. This was no exception, as they certainly put on a show.
Not only do you get to visit a great little village on the island, but you also get a really nice ferry ride back and forth that provides amazing views of the city of Seattle while also giving you a great feel for the overall area. Once you get to the island itself you can wander through a great mixture of fun stores and choose from a wide range of food options. We spent an afternoon on the island, and would have liked to have spent more time, as there is a ton to see. We just didn’t have the energy that day to tackle some of the walking/hiking trails along the water, but we will definitely be planning for those on our next trip.
Other Fun Things
Some of the other great things you can see in Seattle include Pioneer Square, which is an area that represent where the city started and you can visit a cool selection of stores and restaurants; the waterfront area of downtown where you can watch the ferries come and go, view the working port and wander through some very “touristy” shops; Lumen Field and T-Mobile park, which are side by side and can give the baseball and football fans amongst us something to see. The city is also full of artwork and murals that you can enjoy as you wander – definitely keep your eyes open if you are taking the light rail to and from the airport as there are some great murals along the tracks. There is no shortage of fun places to shop, but make sure you check out Robot vs Sloth near the market and the museum gift shops were actually pretty cool.
Seattle is definitely a great place to spend a week, and I look forward to visiting during the summer to truly enjoy the waterfront and outdoor spaces. I am looking forward to sharing some great places to eat in the next post.
The Free Range Viking